As Brian from mgoblog (http://mgoblog.com/) disclosed this morning, Michigan vs Alabama is pretty much a done deal:
But apparently [the game] is happening. The contract is being signed Monday. Which is tomorrow.
This is good news for football fans, as two of the most storied programs of all-time are brought together for what amounts to a pre-season bowl game. As a Michigan fan, the reactions are mixed. Not only is Alabama riding high right now, but Michigan's program could possibly be in turmoil. Most of the people I've talked to have said something along the lines of "...so it'll be in Jim Harbaugh's second year?" only (usually) much, much more unfriendly. Michigan also has to play 'Bama, ND, MSU, OSU, and possibly PSU, Wisconsin, and Nebraska. That's one murderous potential schedule. On the other hand, this promises to be a damn good game, with senior Denard/Tate and RS Sophomore/Junior QB Devin Gardner to pick from, Michigan promises to be stacked at the QB position.
Assuming the Big Ten plays 9 conference games in 2012, Michigan also promises to have a maximum of 6 home games that year, as they travel to Ohio State and Notre Dame. Now they are down to 5 as they travel to Dallas. People are going to complain about this, saying things like "the students won't be able to make it!" and "it's so far away from Michigan!" and the blindly obvious "but but but but it's not a home-and-home" and "RAWR it's in an NFL stadium!".
As cool as it would have been in a home-and-home with 'Bama, scheduling probably wouldn't have worked out to be in simultaneous years and thus have something like the Oregon series, which was separated by 4 years and a lot of Oregon improvement. One could argue that the Tide has nowhere to go but down, and that Saban tends to move from place to place more than a drifter, but home-and-home with opponents Michigan doesn't see very often (if at all) tend to not turn out well for the Wolverines. Regardless, this game should be a classic. Hopefully. Maybe.
Now onto the money, which is what this is all about right? No? What's this "molding of young men" garbage? Whatever. According to the depths of the interweb, the maximum capacity for Cowboys Stadium is listed at 110,000. Let's assume 100k show up, half of which are Michigan fans. How much did the Wolverines take to show up? One would (hopefully) assume it's more than a normal Saturday afternoon haul from Michigan Stadium.
Projecting that the average ticket is $60 at the Big House, and assuming each of the 109, 901 attendees spends $10 at the concession stand (not too unreasonable, I would say). That's roughly 7,700,000 brought in on one Saturday. Obviously these are very, VERY rough numbers, and do not add in programs, merchandise, parking fees, TV revenue, and the newest crown jewel (the suites), or less the operating costs such a large enterprise entails. But there's the rough ball-park figure for what Michigan got paid to come into Dallas. Add in the fact, according to mgoblog, that
[The] [g]ame is happening because a desperate Jerry Jones "overpaid."
so it's safe to (maybe) assume that Michigan's pay-out in this is somewhere in the 8-12 million-dollar range, and you can see why new AD Dave Brandon said YES PLEASE when this deal hit his desk.
There's also the presence of the game in Texas/the south in general, which should help recruiting in the area, and if the game ends with a Wolverines victory, it will be a huge opening-season win and show the media and recruits that yes, Michigan is back, and they have re-gained their usual winning ways against the SEC. Obviously all this is subjective to what happens between now and then - if Michigan improves like they should this year and then lights it up next year, then there's no need to "prove" that they're back. Likewise, if they go to bowl games and end up playing SEC teams (and come out on top), then there's no need to prove themselves.
To sum it all up: lots of on-the-field stuff is subjective, while lots of off-the-field stuff is not. It will be Michigan-Alabama. It will be week one in 2012. Michigan will have made a boatload of money off of it. Let's hope the football record comes away with as much as the AD's wallet does.